Everybody wants to s—t on Pat Barry – Rose Namajunas explains missing coach at UFC Paris

Rose Namajunas showed up to UFC Paris without one of the cornerstones of her MMA training staff.

By: Zane Simon | 3 weeks ago
Everybody wants to s—t on Pat Barry – Rose Namajunas explains missing coach at UFC Paris
Rose Namajunas, Pat Barry, and Trevor Wittman in 2015. - Gary A. Vasquez IMAGO/USA Today

There’s a strong argument that the most important fight at UFC Paris this last weekend didn’t take place in the evening’s main event. Before Ciryl Gane and Sergey Spivac battled it out in front of a roaring crowd, Rose Namajunas stepped into the Octagon against potential flyweight title challenger Manon Fiorot.

Fresh off her strawweight championship loss to Carla Esparza, and with a long career of battling for UFC gold already under her belt, Rose Namajunas made her debut in a whole new weight class this last Saturday—with the likelihood that a victory would see her in title contention once again. For such a high-stakes fight, however, there was a notable absence in the corner of ‘Thug Rose.’

Ex-UFC champ Rose Namajunas explains Trevor Wittman’s absence

When Rose Namajunas entered the cage on September 2nd at the Accor Arena, she did so without a foundational piece of her MMA career. Coach Trevor Wittman has been a constant force for the Milwaukee native, having cornered her in every single fight of her run in the UFC. From her debut at the Ultimate Fighter Season 20 Finale in 2014, all the way through her title fights against Joanna Jedrzejczyk, Jessica Andrade, and Weili Zhang, Trevor Wittman and Rose Namajunas have been an inseparable pair.

So where was the famed trainer last weekend in Paris? In a recent video uploaded to her social media, Rose Namajunas gave something of an explanation. By her account, it seems she didn’t want to take any focus away from Wittman’s work with Justin Gaethje ahead of Gaethje’s recent clash for the BMF title.

“And so, of course, because everybody wants to shit on Pat [Barry], and just makes assumptions, because that’s the way things are no matter what,” Rose Namajunas stated, responding to a question about why Wittman wasn’t in her corner, “people are just going to assume that, ‘Oh, he’s the reason why [Wittman] wasn’t in my corner.’ That has nothing to do with Pat, that has everything to do with me and [Justin] Gaethje, and him having a fight—with the BMF and all that stuff. And I did not want to interfere and I stayed back.

“There’s more to it than that,” she added. “But, for the most part that’s all that I think I wanna say about that. Because I think our relationships are very—you know, we’re very close people, and that’s nobody’s business, you know what I mean? And so everybody makes it their business.

“But, I understand that people are wondering. And obviously, I love Trevor.”

“The timing for this fight, when I got offered this fight, just so happened to be in the middle of his training camp,” Rose Namajunas continued. “And, the state of mind that I was in, I couldn’t bring that around him. And the fact that I could contribute to [Gaethje] not doing well has not sit right with me since that Carla [Esparza] fight. So, I took it upon myself to stay back.

“And it just so happens also, after Gaethje’s fight, Trevor—he does not have a gym right now. He’s moving his gym to a different location. So, there wouldn’t even be a place to train anyways.

“And, after a fight like that—most of y’all wouldn’t know—but that’s a super high of a high that nobody knows what that’s like. And to come down from that? That’s like, ‘Dude, I’m not gonna bother anybody with my little side mission right now.’ Of course, when things are a little calmer and when there’s a gym to train at—and when the dust has settled and my mind is a little bit better—yes, we’re all going to reunite and stuff like that.”

Trevor Wittman’s ONX Sports brand

Originally hoping to be a professional boxer, Wittman had to step away from competition early on in his career due to lung problems. After opening T’s K.O. Fight Club boxing gym back in 1998, Wittman eventually opened the much larger and more broadly focused Grudge Training Center in 2009. That facility played home to not just Justin Gaethje and Rose Namajunas, but also the likes of Shane Carwin, Nate Marquardt, Brandon Thatch, and a large number of other elite level MMA fighters.

However, just seven years later, Wittman closed down the facility to focus more of his time on his ONX combat sports equipment company. A company that most notably included a redesign of the classic MMA gloves. Something that the UFC (and most notably broadcast team member Joe Rogan) have been searching out for years.

“Trevor [Whitman] makes the best fuckin’ equipment,” Rogan explained in a 2022 podcast episode. “His MMA gloves should adopted by all organizations. The fact that the UFC and him haven’t come to some sort of an agreement doesn’t make any sense to me.

“Because the UFC gloves that they use are so inferior to the gloves that Trevor makes. Those ONX MMA gloves—I think we would have less eye pokes because they make your hand curve—forces your hand to curve. I think we’d have less hand breaks because I think it offers better support for your hands.”

Apparently the UFC and Wittman have failed to reach any sort of deal on making his gloves a part of the promotion’s uniform, because Wittman wants to retain the rights to the design and technology involved, an idea that Dana White & Co aren’t willing to entertain and which neither side seems willing to budge on. As for coaching? Wittman still works with a few core students, Rose Namajunas among them. But if her explanation is any indication his training time is currently at a premium.

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About the author
Zane Simon
Zane Simon

Zane Simon is a senior editor, writer, and podcaster for Bloody Elbow. He has worked with the website since 2013, taking on a wide variety of roles. A lifelong combat sports fan, Zane has trained off & on in both boxing and Muay Thai. He currently hosts the long-running MMA Vivisection podcast, which he took over from Nate Wilcox & Dallas Winston in 2015, as well as the 6th Round podcast, started in 2014. Zane is also responsible for developing and maintaining the ‘List of current UFC fighters’ on Bloody Elbow, a resource he originally developed for Wikipedia in 2010.

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